Canucks: Brock Boeser is becoming more than just a goal scorer

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 08: Brock Boeser #6 of the Vancouver Canucks in NHL action against the Calgary Flames at Rogers Arena on February 8, 2020 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 08: Brock Boeser #6 of the Vancouver Canucks in NHL action against the Calgary Flames at Rogers Arena on February 8, 2020 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /

Since being drafted, Brock Boeser has been touted as a pure goal scorer. Three years in and he is becoming so much more than that for the Vancouver Canucks.

When Brock Boeser was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in 2015, many scouts labelled him as a pure goal scorer.  It was hard not to see why. He was coming off a 35-goal season with the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks. He then scored plenty of times with the University of North Dakota.

The 2017-18 season was his rookie season. With the Canucks, he scored 29 goals before a back injury in March of 2018 sidelined him for the rest of the season. Since his rookie year, it feels like we haven’t seen the same Boeser who would unleash deadly wrists shots on demand.

It might be due to injury but Boeser’s wrist shot hasn’t looked the same since that phenomenal rookie campaign. His goal scoring has dropped over the last two seasons and he hasn’t been that consistent.

Boeser is still a key part of the Canucks core but it looks like he may never become a 40-goal scorer as many had hoped. But in his defence, he has evolved into much more than a one-dimensional goal scorer over the last two seasons.

A look at Boeser’s wrist shot

In his rookie year, Brock Boeser’s wrist shot was quite deadly. It was almost as if no goaltender on the planet had the chops to stop it.

Over the last season or two, his wrist shot hasn’t looked quite the same. Maybe injuries with his wrist had something to do with it. According to a January article from Daniel Wagner of Pass it to Bulis, Boeser took fewer wrist shots in 2019-20.

According to, Boeser’s shooting percentage with the wrist shot was 6.8% in 2019-20. He was at 10.4% with the wrist shot in 2018-19 and in 2017-18 its success rate was at 14.1%. In Boeser’s rookie year, his expected goals per 60 minutes with the wrist shot was at 0.51. The following year it was at 0.50 and last season it dropped off significantly, with 0.38.

The injuries and not having the Sedins on the power play might have contributed to the decline. On the power play, instead of taking wrist shots, the Canucks have tried to set up Boeser with the one timer. However, it hasn’t been effective for the most part, but it has worked on the rare occasion.

It seems like his confidence in his wrist shot has been lowered as well. Hopefully, he is using the offseason to work on it because Canucks fans want to see the deadly wrist shot from 2017-18 return.

Boeser’s playmaking and two-way game

Sure, Boeser is still scoring goals despite not being as effective as his rookie season. Even when he isn’t scoring, Boeser is still a good player for the Canucks.

In fact, his two-way game and his playmaking abilities have improved and he is evolving into a more versatile player.

Here is an example of Boeser’s improvement on the defensive side of the puck. In the clip below, he hustles quickly on the backcheck to prevent a more dangerous New York Islanders scoring chance.

In this next clip, Boeser makes a nice defensive pressuring the Minnesota Wild player to free up the puck and set up a rush for an Elias Pettersson goal.

Boeser has been showing off his playmaking abilities and has done so more often than not last season. He has been passing the puck more and been trying to set up scoring chances, especially on the power play.

In this clip tweeted by Harman Dayal, he makes a through the legs pass on the power play against the Wild in the qualifying round. It’s a nice sight for sore eyes as he showcases his skills.

Another example is at around the 2:47 mark in this highlight video of a Canucks game against the Vegas Golden Knights.  Boeser looks to see an open Pettersson and feeds him a nice pass for a goal.

Basically, Boeser’s playmaking and defensive games are overlooked because his shot is his main weapon. He’s been more involved in puck battles and more noticeable on the rush.

According to HockeyReference, his Assists Per 60 Minutes went up from 1.4 in his first two seasons to last seasons to 1.6. His Corsi For Percentage went up over his last three seasons from 55.5% to 58.4% to 61.3%.

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While Boeser’s goal scoring totals may have declined over the last two seasons, he is evolving into a more complete player as his defensive and playmaking game has improved. It’s like how Muse ehaven’t made an album as good as Origin of Symmetry, Absolution, or  Black Holes and Revelations,  they evolved their sound into other genres and still make good records. Boeser may not be the elite sniper we thought he was in his rookie year but his game has evolved into much more than just scoring goals.